The Mattopian Blahg

29 December 2017

Her Paris: Denver Art Museum
Judgement of a Day's Work by Anna and Michael Ancher, 1883. The level of detail in this painting is fantastic.

I've been a member of the Denver Art Museum for several years now. Even so, today was my first visit all year. And it wasn't because of a lack of interesting exhibits. Hardly. But U2 toured, I went to Cuba, Argentina, Uruguay. You know. Life gets in the way of some things.

Thankfully, I got to see their current ticketed exhibit, Her Paris: Women Artists in the Age of Impressionism, on display through 15 January 2018. As should be expected from DAM, it's a well-done survey of the topic. I assure you the following photos of a few of my favorites, taken on my iPhone, don't do the actual works justice. You've got to see them in person.

Her Paris: Denver Art Museum
Evening, Interior by Harriet Backer, 1890. I love that shadow effect.

Her Paris: Denver Art Museum
Dans le Bleu by Amelie Beaury-Saurel, 1894. Captures the cigarette smoke so effectively.

Her Paris: Denver Art Museum
The Tormented by Virginie Demont-Breton, 1905. You have to see it in person to fully appreciate the expressions on the faces.

Her Paris: Denver Art Museum
Unter den Linden in Berlin by Anna Bilinska-Bohdanowicz, 1890. Borderline photo-realistic lighting effects.

Her Paris: Denver Art Museum
On the Terrace at Sevres by Marie Bracquemond, 1880. Captures a classic period.

Her Paris: Denver Art Museum
Waterfall by Fanny Churberg, 1877

The art is only part of the story. Visitors need to take their time and read the display cards for some great stories.

For example, Fanny Churberg's realistic works were dubbed "strange" and "abnormal" by contemporary critics and audiences. The Anchers' painting Judgement of a Day's Work was completed three years into their marriage (Michael being 10 years older than Anna); as the display notes, it's "a visual manifesto of both their romantic and artistic relationships."

And there's this gem of a story about Elizabeth Jane Gardner Bouguereau: "Like many of her peers, she overcame formidable obstacles to achieve artistic success: she disguised herself as a man so that she could gain access to life drawing classes with nude models, she actively cultivated connections with powerful men, and she weathered accusations that her husband [William-Adolphe Bouguereau] was the painter of her works."

And there's a lot more to explore at the DAM right now, including Linking Asia: Art, Trade, and Devotion, a cool exhibit of art in its various forms (sculptures, texts, textiles, paintings) representing 20 Asian countries and 2,000 years of history. It's on display through 1 April 2018. And there's a quirky little exhibit about Ganesha: The Playful Protector, through 28 October 2018.

Linking Asia
Ganesha, circa 7th century, from Tuol Pheakenes in Kandal, Cambodia

Linking Asia

Linking Asia

And I was pleasantly surprised to stumble on an outdoor gallery in Civic Center Park, a collection of gems by famed — and controversial — Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads. For your own enlightenment, please head into the McNichols Civic Center Building, next to the Voorhies Memorial, for a supplementary indoor exhibit about Weiwei and a timeline that helps put the significance of this Zodiac collection into perspective. It all relates to history and imperialism dating back more than 100 years. The exhibit runs through October 2018.

Ai Weiwei: Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads
The twelve heads at the Voorhies Memorial

Ai Weiwei: Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads
The Dragon head

Ai Weiwei: Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads
The Snake head

All photos taken with the iPhone 7 Plus.




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